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Good shoes in narrow fittings?


Senior Member
Sep 13, 2009
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Search says we haven't discussed this since 2005.

So, picking up on yesterday's "are feet getting fatter" thread: who still makes decent shoes in narrow fittings as a regular stock item?

My experience: until about 10 years ago, I could walk into Edward Green, Fosters, Wildsmith or Church (at least Church on Burlington Arcade) and walk out with a pair of D or even C width shoes. Even more before then - I still have, but rarely wear a 22-year old pair of New and Lingwood penny loafers in a C width.

The first three stopped that around 1999-2000 (I recall earlier being told in one of them that "it's for the Americans Sir: them Yanks have narrow feet" - clearly no more). This sale, I popped into Church on the Arcade to discover fewer narrow fittings than in years before (none in my size) and to be told "we're stopping doing them, Sir: not enough demand".

C and J still do Cs and Ds. But experiments last year suggest that none of their narrow fittings is on a last that fits my feet. Similar experiments show that Cleverley's and N and L "E"s are too wide in the heel. As for Trickers, give me strength - they are like wearing barges.

The EG sale this year gave me a pair of B widths that are snug, but not - I hope - too tight. The one pair of decent black shoes for sale in London that fit me? That's ridiculous.

What is annoying me is that I suspect a lot of today's buyers are (say) a D width, but don't know it, have never bothered to find out, and have been conditioned by wearing "athletic" shoes to equate proper fit with clumping about in shoes that are too big for them.

So, am I doomed to on the one hand keep polishing and repairing my old shoes and special ordering new ones? Or do others produce a D/C width shoe of good quality, or an E on a narrow-heeled last? Sargent? JLP? Someone?


Distinguished Member
Nov 8, 2009
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I would not soley go by width letter codes since some manufacturers / lasts are already quite narrow at standard width. I personally need a US10.5B with Allen Edmonds on their 5, 8 and 0 lasts - so I have narrow feet. When switching to C&J I had to play around with different sizes. In the end it turned out that a UK8.5E on the elongated C&J 348 fits me very well. Its dimensions are actually almost identical to the AE US10.5B. So you might be lucky by going for elongated lasts which allow you sizing down to the width you need while still being long enough. Finally you'll be able to finetune the fit using the right sock thickness, inserts or a show stretcher.

Hope that helps.


Senior Member
Dec 20, 2008
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Originally Posted by Geezer
What is annoying me is that I suspect a lot of today's buyers are (say) a D width, but don't know it, ...

On a side note: Feet, on average, really got wider the last 30 years while the average lenght (ie. the shoe size) remained the same.

This is the result of a recent large sample (> 3000 participants) study in Germany. Other industrialised countries are likely to show similiar results.

I can even see it in my (biased) sample.


Distinguished Member
Feb 11, 2009
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Same problem here. Italian lasts tend to be narrower.


Minister of Trad
Nov 7, 2003
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It is my theory (stated before) that more people need narrow widths than think they do due to being conditioned by "standard" D or M width mass produced shoes. Perhaps feet have gotten wider on the whole, but I suspect the main reason there is a reduced demand for narrow widths on the high end is conditioning from the low.

I generally wear in the 9C-9.5B range (Alden/AE).

Bill Smith

Distinguished Member
Mar 31, 2008
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I feel your pain bieng a B (D-UK) width in a D (E/F UK) width world. While some people don't like AE in these parts, I can at least get a proper fitting shoe for my feet from them.

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